Write-30 No.57

Write 30

Free Choice.

Write about anything you want. It could be about your day, about a TV programme, a computer game, in fact anything you want.

STUCK?   Try this idea: Pick a place, an object, and then a person from a book. Write about them.

What is Write – 30?
Write – 30 is a daily activity where you write non-stop for twenty minutes then check and edit your work for 10 minutes. You will be asked to write about different subjects and in different forms.

The writing should be done on lined paper in pencil if possible. Edit and check the work in pen. If you don’t have paper and pencil, use what you can. Even a computer.

Finding it difficult? What you can do to help:

  • Always sit/work in the same place
  • Always use the same writing tools
  • Always turn the TV off
  • No talking – it distracts thinking
  • Always listen to the same piece of classical music when writing.
  • Always set yourself a goal: count the number of words. Try to beat that number the following day.

Writing Trick 2: RAC

Man holding book

Often I get asked, “Oi, mister! How do I stop people falling asleep when they’re reading my writing?”
And I reply, “My name’s not Oi Mister.” Then I tell them about Writing Tricks.
I introduced Onomatopoeia, Simile and Metaphor last time in Writing Trick 1: OSM. 
Here are a few more.

1) Repetition. This is when you repeat a word to make it really stick in a reader’s mind because you think it is important. Here’s an example of it being used:

The sound was coming from the end of the corridor. Jamie peered into the blackness. Thud. Thud. Thud. It was getting nearer. What was it? Jamie’s hands felt hot and clammy and sweat trickled down his back as his heart pounded in his chest. Thud. Thud. Thud.

A great example of using repetition can be found in The Iron Man by Ted Hughes.

2) Alliteration. This is when a writer wants to make a phrase stand out and so writes three or four words together beginning with the same sound. For example:

The six silly sausages skipped and swirled down the street. Oh! This was so much fun! This was far better than being in that frying pan. And who wanted to be eaten anyway?

3) Cliffhanger. A cliffhanger comes from old movie serials where the hero at the end of an episode who be left in peril like handing onto the edge of a cliff. The Indiana Jones‘ movies use them a lot. They usually come at the end of a chapter or section.
Here’s my example taken from Wishbone Billy:

Billy said nothing. He dragged his weary body to the kitchen to do his next chore before dinner. Little did he realise that a terrible disaster was about to happen.

So next time you are writing, why not try some of these tricks out but remember the most important thing: have fun with your writing and your reader will too.

 

Writing Trick 1: OSM

Man holding book

Often I get asked, “Oi, mister! How do I stop people falling asleep when they’re reading my writing?”
And I reply, “My name’s not Oi Mister.” Then I tell them about Writing Tricks. I’m going to introduce a few of them here.

1) Onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is the sound things make. It’s how a writer lets reader know what a sound is exactly like. Common ones are things like: crash! bang! wallop!
But the real fun happens when you make some up of your own, such as Splurrgting!
That’s not all. You can play around with how they look on the page and so how the sound was made:

splurrgtingsmalltobig
Here the sound is going from quiet to loud as if someone is getting more and more annoyed

splurrgtingbigtosmall
and here it is like they were being noisy and were then told to quieten down. Both great fun and when a writer is having fun so is their reader.

2) Simile. Similes help a writer describe what something is like to a reader by describing something it is similar to with regards shape, colour, smell, size, behaviour, texture…Basically saying one thing is like something else.
You use the word like or as in a simile.
The best similes often match the genre or book type you are writing in. For example, these wouldn’t be out of place in a horror:

the ghost was as white as a bag of bones

the spirit’s face was pale  like bone

Although you can have fun writing unexpected similes:

The princess flicked her golden hair around her face as beautiful as a slug.

3) Metaphors. Metaphors are very similar to similes in that they help a writer decribe something to make it clearer to the reader. The key difference here is you are not saying something is like something else but it is something else.

A simple example is this:
the man ate like a pig  (Simile)
the man was a pig eating (Metaphor)

More complicated:
his eyes burned like flame (Simile)
his grin with eyes of flame 
(Metaphor)

So next time you are writing, why not try some of these tricks out but remember the most important thing: have fun with your writing and your reader will too.

 

How To Write Badly…

 

So you have finally decided to write that story or book.  Let me tell you all the things you need to do to not get to the end and fail at your task.

1) Keep re-working that first chapter. That’s write. Why go on to the next part of the story when you can spend all your time endlessly re-writing the first part so it becomes perfect. After all, it’s not like most writers end up cutting the first chapter/part anyway as they started the story in the wrong place, is it?

2) Make sure you have access to Twitter, Facebook, Messenger or any other social media. You need to be constantly updated on the latest cake picture and cat video. You need to lose yourself down the rabbit hole of messages. Social media is catnip to writers and should be engaged at every opportunity rather than actually doing any writing on your story.

3) Surround yourself with lots of noise. Why not put the TV on as well or a playlist with good vocals? Nothing works better to help you lose your train of thought when you are being constantly…

4) Make sure you drink loads. Have lots of tea, coffee or fizzy drinks. It easily breaks the flow if you’re constantly sipping and having to run to the loo. Also, adds a sense of urgency.

5) Play a video game. You know you want to. Just get to the end of the level and then you’ll stop. Well, maybe, just one more level. Oh, is that the time. I’ll do some writing tomorrow, I promise.

6) Keep re-drafting your plan. In fact, invest in lots of colour pens and sticky labels to add a bit of colour to it all. What about a character spreadsheet mapping out all the history and interests of all the characters? I know you won’t use any of it but preparation is key.

7) Read a few books about writing. Better safe than sorry. Best to learn the craft from a book rather than actually doing a bit of writing. Maybe attend another writing course. Better still, re-read this blog post until you have memorised it.

8) Stare at the page. Fill yourself with nagging doubt and hesitate. Tell yourself it won’t be as good on the page as it is in your head. Whatever you do, don’t begin. Don’t put words down. You’re only setting yourself up to fail.

 

 

 

WRITING TIP 4: About Spelling…

 

I’m sorry to say but often spelling gets in the way of good story writing, along with handwriting. Parents panic about it, pointing out any ‘simple’ errors to their children. Teachers fret about it because it can influence Assessment scores.

This is bad.

By all this panic and fretting, you get very worried. You begin to believe that spelling and handwriting make a good story. That any story where it is a bit wobbly is not a good story.

WRONG!

When a writer is writing their story for the first time (first draft) there is only one thing they are worried about: getting to the end of the story. That’s right! You should only worry about getting your ideas down, following your characters as they go on their adventure in whatever world or place you have put them in.

That doesn’t mean writers ignore spelling, punctuation and that grammar stuff. It just means we check all that when we do a second draft. That’s a time to fix that.

And handwriting?

Well, a published work should be readable. But you only worry about that at the very end. And you could always use a computer.

So stop worrying for now about that spelling and punctuation stuff. Sit down. Dream. And get that story down – to the end!